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Discussion Starter #1
OK - it's an Astro - but the door handles are basically the same except for some cosmetics and orientation (horizontal vs vertical) --- but it's a GM vehicle and these designs are pretty generic anyway.

I wrote this on a forum for someone who needed some heavy handholding to get through replacing the driver's door handle on a vehicle the same as my wife's Astro.

So - forewarned - here's the post c/p....


PREAMBLE: This HAS to be one of the hardest-to-install door handles in my history. I worked at automotive repairs for over 55 years and ALWAYS hated this particular door handle replacement 'cause it's subject to abuse when using it and they aren't made from the strongest material* to stand up to the average owner/driver!
( * Can you say: POT METAL? --- I thought so!)

On my wife's Astro Van, this is the 4th time I've done this handle and her oldest son did it once too. If there's a "next time" - I'll sell this van first.

This is GENERALLY the way to change the handle on a 2000 Chevy Astro - but it's pretty much the same through the whole GM lineup of that age and design. There may be minor differences - look before you do anything.

1. Close the driver's window and then pop that little triangular piece of plastic off of the area near the front corner of the window - where a vent would go if it had one!
* NOTE: This will show you what one of the white plastic mounting lugs look like and how tough/fragile they are.
2. There are only 3 screws to remove - 1 is a Phillips #2 near the optional speaker that may or may not be there., the other two (inside the little plastic caps on both ends of the inside grab handle) are Torx.
3. Once the grab handle is removed, you can pop up the control panel for the window switches and the door lock master control plus the mirror remote adjustment switch.
* NOTE: I like to instead remove the Molex style wire plugs from the various switches and just leave the entire switch panel in place. It's easier I think - (your preferences may vary). Also at this time, remove the door latch handle dress-parts that hide the mechanism - they are plastic and thick foam and are pretty flexible - so - with restraint, remove them.
3. Now with a long-flat door panel tool - or just your fingers - pop all the plastic mounting lugs between the panel and the door - being thoughtful about not ruining any of the white 'stand-off' plastic mounting lugs. You MAY get away with one or two that break - but it's best to replace them*.
----> DON'T bother going to a GM dealer to buy replacements - they either won't sell them to you or they'll plead stupidity and say they never saw them before. They WILL try to sell you a new car with the same parts installed though.
* NOTE: The entire panel at the same time that you are popping the standoff lugs, it has to go UP about an inch to raise it above the window seal on the inside of the door - (the place where you rest your elbow when you drive). Put the panel in a safe place.....
2. Peel up - but do not damage the interior foam weather seal! - tape it up to the window - which should be closed anyway!
3. Stick your head in the large square hole, and using a powerful LED-type flashlight - check out all the linkage and the two Metric nuts* on the mounting studs on the new handle.
*These will need a 10MM flex-socket, 1/4" drive for best access.
4. Remove both 10MM-headed nuts - 1 nut is removable through that little black plastic 'plug' right below the latch on the door.
The 2nd nut is a little harder because of the plastic mesh that covers one of the locking-relay rods and it's physical size takes up all the visual access and makes it really hard to get a socket on it.
# If you stick your head in the large square hole again, you can see the nut, but it's super hard to access!
#Work with it.
#Drink a beer.
#Work with it some more.
#Cuss at it if it makes you feel better.
#Drink another beer.
5. Carefully pull the handle out of the door from the exterior. There will be a single link-bar to disconnect - although the link from the door handle will usually be broken off and that little rod and lever will just hang there- remove it now anyway you find it.
Really notice this next part ---->
----> Having now carefully popped that link-bar out of the plastic grommet --->
----> You DO NOT have to take anything else apart.
----> You are done taking things apart!
----> RESIST THE URGE TO DISASSEMBLE ANYTHING ELSE.
----> You've been warned because the demented engineer who designed this linkage is dead by now and took all the drawings of how the various rods and levers work together with him to whatever hellish afterlife engineers go to when they die.

To install the new handle ---> just do everything backwards --- especially the beer part.

PS - I hope this helps - I'm personally fond of the 'beer' part - but you may not have the same EXACT system in your vehicle and I've presented just a glimmer of the insides of a 2000 Chevy Astro Van.
 
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